Ben-Gurion was named one of Time Magazine‘s 100 Most Important People of the Century.
“Part Washington, part Moses, he was the architect of a new nation state that altered the destiny of the Jewish people — and the Middle East.”
What made Ben-Gurion the great architect of state of Israel?
- Vision—Ben-Gurion had a clear vision for the future survival of the Jewish people. “Shocked by anti-Semitic pogroms in Eastern Europe, he saw the creation of an independent homeland for the homeless Jewish people as, first and foremost, a crucial provision for the survival of persecuted Jews.” Further, Ben-Gurion always wanted Israel to become a ‘Light unto the Nations,’ an exemplary polity abiding by the highest moral standards.”
- Strategy—Ben-Gurion had a strategy to accomplish his vision. “Throughout the tragic years from 1936 to 1947, while millions of Jews were rounded up and murdered by the Germans, denied asylum by almost all nations and barred by the British from finding a home in Palestine, he subtly orchestrated a complex strategy: he inspired tens of thousands of young Jews from Palestine to join the British army in fighting the Nazis, but at the same time authorized an underground agency to ship Jewish refugees into the country…This strategy helped bring about the favorable atmosphere that led to the 1947 U.N. resolution, partitioning Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state.”
- Determination—Ben-Gurion was determined to execute his strategy. “Ben-Gurion’s iron-will leadership during the fateful 1 1/2 years of that touch-and-go war [after 1948] turned him from ‘first among equals’ in the Zionist leadership into a modern-day King David.”
- Leadership—Ben-Gurion was a true leader. “The crux of his leadership was a lifelong, partly successful struggle to transplant a tradition of binding majority rule in a painfully divided Jewish society that for thousands of years had not experienced any form of self-rule, not even a central spiritual authority. In the early years of the state, many Israelis saw him as a combination of Moses, George Washington, [and] Garibaldi.”
(adapted from http://www.time.com/time/time100)
To me, David Ben-Gurion is a hero who led the Jewish people on a road toward survival and statehood at its darkest hour in history. From the ashes of 6 million Jews murdered in the holocaust, David Ben-Gurion, like Moses, led the people from near total annihilation to rebirth in the promised land.
As an enterprise architect, I can only marvel and be utterly inspired by the building blocks of vision, strategy, determination and leadership that made David Ben-Gurion the “great architect and builder” honored by Time Magazine’s 100 Most Important People of the 20th century.